Yollocalli Arts Reach transformed a vacant lot into Jardin Malinalli—a beautiful art-filled garden space—for which it received the 2023 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Creative Places Award. The youth programming initiative, part of the National Museum of Mexican Art, celebrates Mexican art and culture in Little Village, a predominantly Latinx neighborhood on Chicago’s Southwest side. In partnership with Human Scale, the initiative incorporated community input to create a design to fit their needs. Over the past six years, the local community has transformed Jardin Malinalli through laborious organizing efforts. The garden now serves as a community space where residents can gather, connect with their culture, and foster rejuvenation and growth.

The Creative Places Award, among the LISC Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards, recognizes innovative approaches within the Chicago region that use art and culture centered initiatives to drive community-led development and progress.